Review: The Ontario Blackbird SK-5 Survival Knife

The world is positively awash in survival knives these days, and some of them, I'm sad to say, appear to have been cooked up by people who never got farther outdoors than the parking lot at industrial arts school. The SK-5 does not come under this heading. It's designed by a fellow named Paul Scheiter, and while I'm not familiar with his credentials, he knows his s**t.

This is a knife that is not too big while being big enough, made of 154-CM steel, has a terrific and more or less indestructible canvas micarta handle held in place by three stainless-steel bolts, and an excellent MOLLE-compatible sheath that's made of coyote-colored Cordura nylon. The blade is 5" long, spear-pointed, and tempered to Rc58-60. Mine came just short of razor-edged, and once I put a shaving edge on it (30 seconds on the Crock Stick) it held that edge like Grim Death.

A more useful, simple, and well-designed all-around knife you will not find. If I were taking one to the Sand Box, I might want to have the blade bead-blasted to kill the shine, but aside from that, it's perfect.

Mr. Scheiter did not find it necessary to add a blade that will core out a prostate. The sheath will not serve as a tourniquet or allow you to carry your cel phone. If I ever meet Paul Scheiter I would like to shake his hand.

The list price for the SK-5s is $195, which is perfectly fair for a knife of this quality, but I've seen them on the Internet for just over $100. At that price, it's a colossal bargain.

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See the SK-5 in_ Field & Stream_'s Best of the Best Hunting Gear of 2011._